Kenyan police and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials arrested two Sri Lankan nationals for allegedly mining without a licence in Taita-Taveta County.KRA and Ministry of Mines officials said the foreigners were arrested in Voi town while engaging in the business illegally, the Standard Digital website reported. “The suspects were doing mining business without following the laid down mining regulations. I have referred the matter to KRA regional office in Mombasa for further action,” said a senior KRA official, Hanningtone Olero. “The Sri Lankans are sly and do not follow the right mining procedures. Let them do clear business. Some of them pretend to be tourists and later buy gemstones and smuggle the commodities out of Tanzania through the panya route,” he said. Kenya is losing billions of shillings in a mineral-smuggling racket involving unscrupulous rich foreign gemstone dealers and miners in the region.The influential mining cartels mainly from Sri Lanka and Tanzania come to the area to buy minerals and later smuggle them out of the country through undesignated routes along the porous Kenya-Tanzania border.The cartels are said to be controlling the markets and prices of gemstones and local dealers are denied access. Omito said foreign dealers are colluding with local ones to perpetrate the vice, hence bringing down mining business. He said the foreigners buy gemstones and disappear without following exit points. The incident comes after the Mines department recently closed two gemstone dealers’ shops in Voi town for operating unlawfully. “The gemstone dealers opened offices in the town without a licence. They have also been colluding with Sri Lankans to perpetrate illegal mining business in the region,” said the county’s geologist Edward Omito.He said last year police arrested a Sri Lankan who had been buying gemstones in a hotel room without a permit.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A similar cattle grazing project is due to take place in Richmond Park in October, where the animals will be kept secure by an “invisible fence” involving electrically activated collars.Earlier this year the Prince of Wales urged every farmer in the country to plant at least one wildflower meadow on which cattle or sheep can live.As well as eating away the dominant plants that can eventually overrun a meadow, they trample in seeds that have dropped from the flowers. If successful, grazing sheep could soon become a common sight in central London, with provisional plans in place to introduce flocks to Hyde Park, Regent’s Park and Richmond Park.Most grasslands in the UK eventually becomes dense scrub or woodland if left ungrazed. It will help plan how we manage the parks in the futureDr Alice Laughton, The Royal Parks Sheep are to graze in London’s Royal Parks for the first time since the 1930s as part of a project to revive Britain’s wildflower meadows supported by Prince Charles.From Monday, commuters crossing Green Park on their way to work will notice a small herd of rare sheep chomping through the tougher tufts of grass.It is hoped this natural conservation method will tame the non-picturesque, dominant plants within one of the park’s two wildflower meadows, allowing flowers to flourish and a rich diversity of invertebrates to grow. The initiative is part of the Royal Parks Mission Invertebrate project, which has received £600,000 from the People’s Postcode Lottery.Dr Alice Laughton, who is leading the project, said: “we are very excited to be carrying out the first sheep grazing trial in The Royal Parks.“By increasing the biodiversity of the park grasslands, we hope to encourage the invertebrates that inhabit meadow grasslands to flourish, and it will help plan how we manage the parks in the future.” A third of the park’s wildflower area will be kept free of sheep in order to compare the difference they make. Man and beast: Green Park in 1935Credit:Getty The six sheep starting their week-long stint on Monday have been selected because, unlike modern commercial breeds, they can survive on the natural vegetation alone and do not rely on supplementary feed.With breeds including an Oxford Downs, Whitefaced Woodlands and Southdown’s, they will be be protected by both a wooden and electric fence, with a shepherd on guard during the days. Green Park in more modern timesCredit:Paul Grover for The Telegraph